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The merry-making festival of Christmas is celebrated worldwide to commemorate the birth of Lord Jesus Christ. It is known as “Bada Din” in Hindi. Celebrated on 25th December every year, it is a very auspicious day, especially for the Christians. Although, the Christians make up even less than 5% of the population of India, it is still easy to witness traditional Christmas joyfulness in most parts of the country.
The streets and houses are adorned with charming Christmas bells, lights, angels and other decorations. Children rush to Christmas tree on Christmas morning to grab the gifts that Santa Clause has kept for them. People make cakes, tarts, other Christmas snacks like plum cakes which are the most popular during this occasion. Midnight mass, which is followed by a huge meal of varied delicacies, is an essential service for Christians, specifically the Catholics. Christmas celebration in India might differ in terms of customs and food, but the joy and pleasure still remains the same.
Top destinations to celebrate Christmas in India
Bringing amusement and joy to the people of India, Christmas offers a good time to travel across the country. Since it is a festive season, you can witness hustle-bustle in every corner of the country. Although, Christmas is celebrated with pomp and vigor in almost every area, below mentioned are a few destinations you can visit to make this festival even more enjoyable.
Goa is one of the most preferred places to celebrate any festival. Apart from Indian tourists, the state of Goa welcomes a myriad of foreign tourists as well. The spectacular beaches and magnificent natural beauty of the place attracts a large number of people from different parts of the world throughout the year. Furthermore, Goa has a huge population of Christians who celebrate this grand event with immense happiness and joy. It is an ideal destination to savor traditional celebration with family members and friends.
Celebrated in the European Style, Christmas merriment begins on Christmas Eve, particularly for the devout. Several churches conduct midnight mass where carols are sung. But, there are many people, who dress like Santa a week before Christmas and sing carols holding a box to accumulate funds. These funds are used to organize feast for the poor.
Christmas fruit cake is the typical sweet in Goa which is made specifically for this occasion. The cake is made up of dry fruits and wine and the recipe is adopted from the West. The entire ambience in the region is very much like Diwali. The tranquil city of Goa all lit up with colorful lights and Christmas stars allures every individual.
24 December, the Christmas Eve and the celebration in Mumbai is no less than any other part of the world. Evening prayers in popular churches and late night celebrations is all that you can witness in Mumbai during Christmas. The entire city is decorated with Christmas lights, stars and bells. 25 December, the birth of Jesus Christ, is commemorated by the Christian Community of Mumbai with pomp and vigor. The spirit of Christmas remains the same for others as well.
Family and friends wish each other and share Christmas cards and gifts, having a lot of fun. Cakes and wine is one of the most preferred combinations that people, especially Christians, like to have during this auspicious occasion. Bandra, Church Gate and Hill Road are some of the well-renowned places where you can enjoy Christmas celebration with your family and friends.
Kerala, God’s own country celebrates Christmas, the festival of universal love with pleasure and happiness. Christmas star, cake, presents, crib and lightning is what best describes Christmas in Kerala. Although the Christmas tree is a relatively latest addition to Christmas celebrations in the vibrant land of Kerala, the Christmas star at Christian shops and homes sets the season of cheerfulness and delight.
The birth of Lord Jesus is enacted with the help of miniature models in churches and cathedrals of Kerala where carols and songs are sung. Priests of churches organize holy mass at midnight. Prior to beginning with the mass, the priest brings the image of infant Jesus and is headed by the children holding candles. Carols are sung and fire crackers are exploded to indicate the birth of Jesus. Later, feasts are organized that are attended by family and friends. In addition to local sweets, cakes are made, making Christmas a traditional festival in Kerala.
Bangalore, the IT hub of India is one of the highly developed cities of the world. Christmas here is all about goodies, Christmas tree, cakes, wine, carols and gifts. The whole idea is to come together with friends and family and share the joy of celebrating this auspicious day. City Harvest AG Church, St. Mary’s Basilica and Christian Fellowship Church are some of the famous churches where people in large number accumulate to light candles and celebrate the coming of Lord Jesus into this world.
There are many hotels and restaurants that offer special Christmas dinner, including a wide variety of delicacies, desserts and wine. The festival of Christmas would be incomplete without Christmas cakes. While some people bake cakes at home, adding wine and dry fruits, others prefer to get them from the market. Whether it is a child or an adult, Christmas cheerfulness can be seen on the face of every individual. Bangalore undoubtedly makes a perfect place to celebrate Christmas in India.
The fast developing city of Chennai has a good population of Christians. It is a popular choice to celebrate Christmas in South India. In addition to the churches, the hotels, shopping malls and trees are well decorated with Christmas bells, stars and balls. People sing carols and rhymes on Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth of Lord Jesus. Friends and relatives come together to celebrate Christmas with pleasure and joyfulness. Different hotels offer special dinners on this occasion, allowing people to enjoy Christmas to the fullest.
There are many night clubs where special Christmas parties are organized. Besides, many other events and programs are scheduled specially for this day. Allowing Christians and others to celebrate the blissful festival of Christmas with pomp and vigor, Chennai certainly is a viable option to enjoy the festival.
Daman and Diu, the Union Territory administered by the Central Government of India has a large number of NRIs whose hearts are filled with joy during the festival of Christmas. The magnificent charm and golden beaches of the region attract a myriad of tourists from different corners of the world. The festival here is famous for its remarkable performances accompanied by melodious music. The main motive is to promote good spirit and fellowship.
Every house in the area is adorned with colorful lights, lamps, Christmas stars and bells to welcome Jesus and commemorate his birth. The air of Daman and Diu is filled with joy, dance, songs, laughter and lights during the energetic festival of Christmas. As the local administration promotes Christmas season as a main tourist attraction, it is a perfect place to celebrate Christmas and witness the combination of Indian and Portuguese flavors.
Pondicherry is another destination which makes an ideal place to celebrate Christmas in India. Once a French colony, the land of Pondicherry is also known as “India’s little France”. The pristine beaches offer an amazing place to celebrate the festival. Besides, the traditional churches, such as The Sacred Heart of Jesus Church and The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception schedule various Christmas programs.
People in Pondicherry make tents to represent the birth place of Jesus Christ, decorating it with lights and other decoration pieces. The tent is made alike goat shelter where it is believed that Jesus was born. Different varieties of cakes are made by people and are distributed among neighbors, family and friends. The priest also distributes Appam and wine together with blessings.
The wide variety of options, in terms of destinations, that the beautiful land of India offers when it comes to celebrating Christmas makes Christmas celebrations all the more fun.
Christmas snacks and sweets
Any festival in India would be incomplete without sweets and traditional cuisines. As the rituals in India demand exchange of snacks and sweets on Christmas day, preparations for the same start at least a month in advance. Some of the famous Christmas delicacies prepared in India include the following.
- Nuereos or Gujia with the filling of coconut
- Marzipan shapes
- Coconut Barfi
- Bebinca or layered Goan pudding
- Chocolate walnut fudge
- Guava cheese
- Naan Khatais or Nankaties
These much-loved Christmas snacks are made in different parts of the country and are enjoyed by people on the auspicious day.
In contrast to other religious festivals, although Christmas is a bit small festival in India, the joy and pleasure that people have towards this celebration is no less than other festivals. Apart from holding a religious significance, the festival of Christmas allows you to come together with your family, relatives and friends.
When to celebrate Christmas in 2014, 2015 and 2016
The festival of Christmas commemorating the birth of Lord Jesus Christ is celebrated every year on 25 December throughout the world with huge splendor and heartiness.